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A spirit that is not afraid

Community member claims City sent him cease and desist letters regarding short-term rentals

<p>The Auburn City Council held their first meeting in the new Council chamber on April 6.</p>

The Auburn City Council held their first meeting in the new Council chamber on April 6.

On Tuesday, March 15th, Auburn City Council held their monthly meeting during which Robert Wilkins, a resident who rented his home out, spoke at the podium during the citizens open forum. Wilkins conveyed his frustrations with the short-term rental ordinance. 

Ordinance 3288 has to do with the restrictions on short term rentals here in Auburn. 

Wilkins said, "I wanted to say that the five that voted toward ordinance 3288 probably now, at least one of you or more, would probably not vote for that. But of course, one would have made it a tie and it would not have gone on." 

Then, Wilkins continued to discuss how the short-term rental ordinance has affected himself personally and others within the Auburn community. 

"I wanted to talk about the accomplishments that I've seen ordinance 3288 accomplish. Its accomplished loss of city revenue,... increased city expenditures,... loss of income by 151 Auburn families [and] discrimination against the half of the city," Wilkins said. "No changes or improvements were accomplished by the city, that I can tell."

Throughout this time, Wilkins continued to give examples of each of these said 'accomplishments.' One of which was how he has paid approximately three times more in sales tax than he did in property tax. 

Wilkins said he was contacted by the City. The first time he was contacted was through a cease-and-desist order. Wilkins explained his disappointment with how this situation was carried out. 

"I feel like out of 151[people], I don't think that's a lot of people to respond and deal with so," Wilkins said. 

Wilkins said that the City declared his house a hotel and listed other things that the City may claim as businesses

"I don't understand that philosophy. My neighborhood kids lemonade stand, I mean are y'all going to make it a restaurant now? If someone is giving a piano lesson in their homes, are you going to make it a musical studio? Having a yard sale at the house, is that going to be a new store front," Wilkins said. "Doing [some quilting] in the home, is that going to be a thrift store? I mean what have you done? You've taken my home and done that."

Earlier in the meeting, the Council appointed Dr. Daniel Surrey to fill the vacancy on the Auburn Public Library Board for the next term starting April 15th. 

Last week, the City of Auburn was acknowledged as the Third Best College Community in the south by Southern Living. 

"I think we all believe that we're the best college town in the south, but we'll take three right now, and we'll keep working on that and try to improve," Mayor Ron Anders said. 

The Parks and Recreation Department currently has a survey to get the communities feedback and ideas on programming. It is encouraged that the people of Auburn take that survey and express their ideas and thoughts about the Parks and Recreation system. 

Bob Parsons discussed how the Mural Committee is working to bring more public art to the Auburn area. Parsons said, "We had a long discussion about approaching public art from a number of different ways. It was very interesting to think broader about art in the public sphere." There are no conclusions or decisions made at this point. 

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